In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto when he compared this image (Pluto circled) with one taken six days earlier and noticed the bright speck had moved.
See Pictures of Pluto Get More Amazing Through Time
Since its discovery in 1930 to this week's spacecraft flyby, pictures of Pluto have evolved from faint dots to crisp, stunning portraits.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto a few minutes before 8 a.m. on Tuesday. For hours, the spacecraft swiveled and twirled, aiming a suite of seven instruments at Pluto and its five strange moons.
For the first time, the Pluto system is more than just a smear of light, billions of miles away. When Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet in 1930, it was just a tiny glowing pinprick among thousands of background stars. Over the years, our views of Pluto have improved, courtesy of some pretty heavy-duty hardware. Before New Horizons’ visit, the Hubble Space Telescope took our best images of the frosted dwarf planet; in them, scientists spotted terrains varying wildly in brightness, as well as Pluto’s four